If you wish toÂ open the box scoreÂ for last nightâ€™s Hawks-Warriors game, do so at your own peril. Because that game was all sorts of weird.
Stephen Curry, supposedly out for the night, checked in with 33 seconds left. He checked back out 3 seconds later, when a David Lee layup put the Dubs up for good. 3 different Hawks players finished with double-digit rebounds, including a ridiculous 16 from Zaza Pachulia. Ekpe Udoh actually scored in double digits, threw in 8 boards, 3 blocks and 3 steals for good measure, and had a +/- of +5, which is much more backup-power-forward than it is plus-minus-king. Ivan Johnson continued to be in the NBA, a fact that will probably never cease to amaze me. It was, to put it lightly, a freak show.
Above all, however, was the peculiar double-bagel that jumped out of the box score where one expected to see Golden Stateâ€™s starting line-up. And while seeing Andris Beidrins score 0 points in 9 minutes has more or less become the norm in the bay area, the other non-scorer was a peculiar name.
Take it away, Ethan Sherwood Strauss!
Dominic McGuire was the man of the hour in last nightâ€™s narrow victory over Atlanta. He grabbed 15 boards, made life difficult for Joe Johnsonâ€“insofar as life can be difficult for so wealthy a dude. This isnâ€™t what I loved most about McGuireâ€™s performance, though. My favorite aspect was, â€œone shot, zero points.â€ In a perfect world, Dominic would have taken no shots. His layup try looked like a badly failed sobriety test. And this is the upshot: McGuire can be a valuable player if he just forgets about offense altogether.
At first glance, I thought it impossible to play 35 minutes while taking just 1 shot attempt. Forget zero points â€“ some days are like that, even if youâ€™ve made it to the NBA â€“ but the notion of wandering around for almost 3 quarters without so much as an alluring jumper, a heave at the end of the shot clock, or an accidental tip in is simply unnatural to me.
Evidently, it is rare, but not impossible.Â Basketball Reference listsÂ 32 instances of a player logging 30+ minutes with nary a shot nor a point, and 64 more of 0 points and just one field goal attempt. This spans over a 26 year stretch, mind you, so weâ€™re in the range of 4 games per year, but it still soothes the stomach to see familiar offensive nonentities such as Dennis Rodman, Ben Wallace, and Jason Collins in a list where they are expected to dominate.
Nevertheless, it is a fascinating feat from a fascinating player, even if the sheer notion of calling Dominic McGuire fascinating outs me as a basement-dwelling NBA psychopath. While the concept of a player solely devoted to half of the game, savant-like in both his brilliant and dormant halves, is nothing new, the idea of Dominic McGuire as an effective NBA player is not one that existed before his emergence from the depths of Mark Jacksonâ€™s bench or your League Pass subscription.
Thatâ€™s the beauty of basketball, though. While McGuireâ€™s glaring limitations on offense will prevent him from ever becoming more than a specialist, the NBA is a place where specialists may find fame and fortune. Even though players of McGuireâ€™s ilk arenâ€™t quite unheard of, it is incredibly rare when one can honestly point to a 0 point outing as a candidate for the best game in a playerâ€™s career. Itâ€™s a very different type of fascinating, to be sure, but what is fascinating of not very different?